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Saucony Cohesion 15 Review: Can a Budget Shoe Deliver?
By Content Manager Bach Pham

Has everyone had a pair of Cohesions at one point? It's the model you find at your average shoe store in the US day-in and day-out next to Downshifters, Gel Contends and more. I ran in a pair of Cohesion 10s a few years ago. They were my first running shoes, and the first that I did everything from 5k to 10k and more in. For a lot of runners, it was their best, most affordable choice in the market. Five versions later, it made me wonder just how good the Cohesion is after trying over seven dozen higher end running shoes later at Doctors of Running. Shoes today are not cheap and though many say running is one of the most low barrier sports, it really isn't when it comes to high mileage running as you need more and more footwear to keep up. In this review, we check out the Cohesion 15 and determine if a budget trainer can be an invaluable trainer in your lineup.

Price: $75 at Saucony (on sale for $44.95 now)
Weight: 9.1 oz, g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 28.5mm heel/16.5mm forefoot
Drop: 12mm
Classification: Budget daily trainer


The Saucony Cohesion 15 is the definitive budget running shoe in the Saucony lineup. It features an EVA foam called VERSARUN, durable outsole, and a partially recycled material upper - a surprise for a budget model. At 9.1 oz, it also features a decently lighter weight. While all of these elements speak towards a fairly impressive design all things considered, but not without its faults.

: Nike Downshifter, Adidas Run Falcon, Asics Gel Contend


The general fit is a touch snug. If you have narrow to standard width feet, you should be able to go true to size, but if you like a little more width or have wide feet I would suggest going up half a size - especially for  more volume throughout.

The upper runs warm. It's been fine for the early winter, but was very difficult to run in with during the warmer months. Additionally, the heel collar foam padding has a tendency to bunch at the top. Often I'd have to make some adjustments to help get it back to shape.

Once on foot though, the shoe has good structure through and does a good job of locking the foot in. There is a rigid heel counter that goes up about three/fourths of the heel. The insole is removable. Take note though: the overall fit is shallower throughout so if you have a higher volume insole you might need to size up here.


This is an easy day shoe without a doubt. The VERSAFOAM doesn't do a great job at picking up the pace. It is not a responsive foam and also has a bit of mushiness underfoot that is neither firm nor soft, making running feel a bit plodding. The upper's lockdown saves the shoe a bit, aiding in providing some good control. The shoe performed best at easy days once the foam broke in after a couple of runs. The forefoot has a few flex grooves that offer a tiny bit of flexibility, but the shoe is relatively stiff overall. I also used the shoe for a variety of tasks from errands to basketball. I felt the Cohesion was actually fairly comfortable for those activities. The lockdown again helps here, providing some decent lateral movement when playing basketball. As a whole, this is not a shoe I would pick for a moderate to higher mileage runner. For a person looking for a budget everyday use shoe that can tackle a variety of activities, this may be an option to explore.


The VERSARUN foam is curious. It is not super soft underfoot, but it does compress a good deal, making it run extremely neutral. Especially when testing it in warm weather when the foam felt mushier, I had a lot of difficulties with stability in the shoe and had to limit it to shakeout miles. As cooler weather set in and the shoe broke in some, the foam has slowly gotten a bit firmer and more manageable, but ultimately still runs neutral. There's little sole flaring and the last is relatively normal throughout. The shoe has a very minimal bevel as well, making the rearfoot a touch "clunky," as Matt Klein would say.

Culture Corner: How a Budget Revolution Could Change the Sport
By Bach Pham

Runners often say the great thing about running is that it doesn't take a lot to get into the sport. "You buy a pair of shoes and go. The reality is that quickly changes as you really get into the sport. High mileage can take its toll, and when budget footwear doesn't really cut it anymore for a runner - which can happen quickly - then running becomes far less economical than say, buying a basketball.

While it's very true that there are some alternatives to budget footwear (see our Best Affordable Shoes Under $100 guide), most people just starting to run will likely go to what we call a box store (like an Academy or Dicks or Payless) and test the limited options available there. The budget footwear landscape right now is really limited in scope, most trying to be replicas of popular models. This act of mimicking doesn't quite maximize the potential of cheaper foams.

Running is beautiful. It can be tough to seeing the sport having a barrier of cost from footwear over time as a runner progresses in their journey. While budget footwear will never match the responsiveness of more expensive options, I believe runners would really respond to having more options at the budget level. It would also be amazing to see more intentional designs that can showcase what a cheaper foam is capable of. The ASICS Hyperspeed, for example, is a nice example of a budget model that tries its best to maximize its potential with the materials it has on hand in that price range to be the sleekest, fastest shoe it can be for runners in that price range and availability in stores. More expensive options will always provide runners the greatest advantages, but being able to provide the everyday runner with more fun options in a friendly price range would only help open up the sport over time and peak interest as more people realize how much more they can do compared to trainers that have a low bar of versatility and performance.


There are several recommendations I have for the Cohesion. I think the shoe has a few design paths it could go to help feel more complete. It could lean firmer to be more responsive. Ultimately, for a budget model EVA will likely remain the go-to. Making it higher stack has not shown to really add more softness and excitement underfoot when looking at past models. Changing it to be sleeker and more versatile could help add some flavor. The other option is to rocker the shoe, or at least add slightly more bevel to help make the ride more seamless underfoot. It can't be too beveled since this is a trainer meant for both running and everyday activities, but a touch more would help liven the ride.

The upper could use a bit of a streamline to help make it more year-round friendly. The heel collar also could be tightened to prevent bunching.

Saucony overall has done a nice job of hitting some target goals with the model. It being 9.1 oz is nice, and there is certainly room to take it down into the 8's with minor adjustments. The foam needs to find a way to either lean softer and more bouncy or firmer and more rolling in order to help facilitate a cleaner ride.


Ultimately, where the Saucony Cohesion 15 is now I would only recommend for anyone on a very tight budget who wants a shoe that is for limited running, errands, occasional lateral activities, and runs warmer for cooler climates. The shoe is also extremely durable. The outsole will likely last far longer than the midsole itself. Often on sale, the Cohesion does come in at outstanding prices, but for those looking to get into serious running, the uses are limited.



Fit: B (Fits fine throughout for narrow to standard feet. Runs warm though and could be low volume for some)
C (Difficult to log miles in comfortably. Very limited to what it can do)
Stability: C (Foam compression and lack of stability mechanics makes it fairly unstable)
DPT/Footwear Science: C (Recycled materials in upper is great for price point, but some design updates are needed)
Personal: D (Just had a hard time justifying the pair for any type of major running)
Overall: C


Price: Currently $44.95 at Saucony

*Using the following links to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!


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Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: The Cohesion was bought with our own funds. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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The Best Daily Trainers of 2022

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